Annual Report 2008-2009
 

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Secretary's Review

The international year in review

  The Secretary, Mr Michael L'Estrange
The Secretary, Mr Michael L'Estrange AO.
Photo: Michael Jensen
  Ms Gillian Bird, Acting Secretary.
Ms Gillian Bird, Acting Secretary.
Photo: Michael Jensen

The international environment in 2008–09 was testing. The crisis in financial markets severely affected the global financial system and economy, threatening Australia’s prosperity. This event gave rise to an important development in global architecture with the establishment of the G20 Leaders’ Summit to coordinate the international response to the crisis. The Afghanistan conflict and the enduring threats of nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism were among the security challenges that Australia faced.

The department supported the Prime Minister in helping to fashion and influence the two G20 Leaders’ Summits held to stabilise the global economic order, and in securing support for the Government’s G20 objectives. We helped formulate and implement the Government’s policy response, including its agenda for a sustainable and globally consistent regulatory framework for international financial markets, and for action against protectionism.

The department supported the Government’s efforts to promote G20 outcomes and to strengthen regional security and prosperity through regional institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS). We helped focus APEC on the urgent need for a Doha Round outcome to support global economic recovery through further trade liberalisation. We worked successfully to secure a statement by EAS leaders in June 2009 backing the coordinated international response to the global economic crisis.

To realise the Government’s goal of enhancing Asia-Pacific regional architecture, we helped advance the Asia Pacific community (APc) proposal. We supported the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, Mr Richard Woolcott AC, during his regional consultations on the APc and in the preparation of his report to the Prime Minister. We supported the Government in successfully negotiating Australia’s membership of the Asia–Europe Meeting in 2010.

We supported the Government’s push for a successful outcome to the Doha Round, which would improve market access for Australian exporters of goods and services. We played a central role in ensuring that the Government’s trade finance programs helped Australian exporters respond to the economic downturn and position themselves for recovery. We concluded a landmark free trade agreement with our ten ASEAN neighbours.

Taking forward the Government’s renewed focus on multilateralism, the department supported Australia’s contribution to international efforts on climate change, human rights, nuclear non-proliferation and other global issues. We actively promoted Australia’s candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2013–2014.

The department acted to strengthen regional efforts to combat people smuggling, reinvigorating the ministerial-level Bali process on people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

Australia expanded the scope of its international engagement, while strengthening relations with those countries with the greatest influence on its strategic and economic interests. The department worked to enhance Australia’s relationship with the United States. We worked to deepen Australia’s strategic and economic engagement with North Asia and India, and to build practical cooperation with key partners in South-East Asia and the South Pacific. We built on our strong relationship with the United Kingdom and took forward relations with the European Union. We advanced the Government’s objective of broadening and deepening ties with Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The department provided comprehensive consular assistance to the increasing number of Australians travelling overseas, responding to more than 60 crisis situations that affected Australians overseas.

Strengthening multilateral and regional engagement

The department took forward the Government’s commitment to revitalise Australia’s engagement with the United Nations and to help strengthen the multilateral system’s capacity to solve global problems. We continued to campaign actively on Australia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2013–2014, supporting high-level advocacy by the Government.

To advance the Government’s renewed focus on multilateralism and to strengthen Australia’s support for international human rights mechanisms, the department promoted the inclusion of protection of civilians in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations. We facilitated Australia’s ratification of international human rights treaties, including conventions against torture and discrimination against women and people with disabilities. We worked with the UN Development Program to achieve genuine progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. With the Department of Climate Change, we supported Australia’s participation in international climate change negotiations.

The department worked closely with other agencies and through regional and multilateral architecture to address other environmental concerns. Working with the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, we garnered strong international support for the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, which the Prime Minister launched in April 2009. We and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, working closely with the Special Envoy on Whaling, built support for reform of the International Whaling Commission and continued to urge Japan to end its ‘scientific’ whaling program.

The department worked to secure Australia’s interests in regional institutions. We acted to enhance the role of the EAS in addressing regional issues. We supported Australia’s continued strong contribution to APEC, the leading economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. We helped secure APEC agreement on the fundamental importance of behind-the-border reform to trade and investment by contributing to the first APEC ministerial meeting dedicated to structural reform in Melbourne. We supported the attendance of the Prime Minister at the APEC Leaders’ Week and our Portfolio Ministers at the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Peru in November 2008.

To promote democratic development in the Asia-Pacific region, the department helped facilitate the inaugural Bali Democracy Forum in December 2008, which the Prime Minister and the Indonesian President, Dr Yudhoyono, co-chaired. To enhance effective regional disaster management, we supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs’ attendance at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2008, which focused on disaster relief responses to Cyclone Nargis in Burma. We participated in the ARF’s first multinational disaster relief exercise in the Philippines.

Enhancing national security

The department contributed to Australia’s participation in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan by working with the Department of Defence and other agencies to support additional deployments of military and civilian resources. We supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his advocacy of a comprehensive strategy for stabilising and rebuilding Afghanistan at the International Conference on Afghanistan in March 2009. Australia–NATO relations were further strengthened with the visit by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to NATO Headquarters in December 2008.

The department advanced the Government’s intensified engagement with Pakistan, including by assisting visits by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. We contributed to international efforts to assist Pakistan address its acute security and economic challenges through intensive multilateral engagement, including with the Friends of Democratic Pakistan and the Pakistan Donors’ Conference.

The department worked closely with the Department of Defence in Iraq, providing whole-of-government coordination for Australia’s engagement and negotiating a status of forces agreement covering a limited number of Australian Defence Force personnel remaining in Iraq until 31 July 2009. We supported high-level exchanges with Iraq by the Deputy Prime Minister to Baghdad in June 2009 and by the Iraqi Prime Minister to Australia in March 2009. We concluded six new agreements to support expanded bilateral cooperation in areas such as education and trade and investment.

The department worked to advance global efforts to promote non-proliferation and disarmament through its policy and operational support for theInternational Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND). Co-chaired by former Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon Gareth Evans AO QC, and the former Japanese Minister for the Environment and for Foreign Affairs, Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi, the ICNND made significant progress in preparing its major report in the lead-up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference scheduled for May 2010.

The department contributed to multilateral initiatives to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons. We led efforts to advance the Government’s support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a landmark humanitarian treaty which the Minister for Foreign Affairs signed in Oslo in December 2008.

To promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), we supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his role as chair of the September 2008 ministerial meeting of CTBT member states. Through the Conference on Disarmament, we advanced work towards negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. We worked to take forward the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), including by hosting the MTCR’s annual plenary and technical meetings in November 2008.

The department worked closely with the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other countries for a UN Security Council resolution applying strengthened sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) following its long-range ballistic missile launch in April and nuclear test in May 2009. We sustained Australia’s diplomatic efforts to register the Government’s deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities, including through close collaboration with international partners.

To implement the Government’s international counter-terrorism (CT) commitments, the department cooperated intensively with foreign partners and coordinated the CT activities of Australian agencies overseas. As chair of the February 2009 meeting of the Commonwealth Committee on Terrorism, Australia secured agreement on a revised Commonwealth Plan of Action on Terrorism. Australia also agreed on a range of practical CT activities in trilateral consultations with the United States and Japan. We helped maintain Australia’s practical efforts to improve the CT capability of regional partners; and concluded a memorandum of understanding on CT cooperation with Bangladesh, one of 14 such agreements.

The department contributed to whole-of-government efforts to combat people smuggling. We coordinated the Third Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons, which the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Indonesian counterpart co-chaired, and which generated renewed regional commitment to preventing people smuggling and trafficking.

The department was closely involved in implementing the National Security Statement, which the Prime Minister delivered in Parliament on 4 December 2008. We worked with other Government agencies to address the range of national security and strategic policy issues identified as priorities in the Statement. We collaborated with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the evolving national security architecture, including by participating in the new National Intelligence Coordination Committee.

The department helped build Australia’s practical cooperation on security issues with Japan and the United States through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD). We hosted an inaugural TSD meeting of humanitarian relief and disaster response experts to improve trilateral coordination on disaster management.

Promoting trade and investment

The department worked intensively to support the Minister for Trade’s commitment to achieving an ambitious outcome to the Doha Round negotiations that would accelerate global economic recovery and improve market access for Australian agriculture, industrial products and services. We organised a Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting in Bali and a trade ministers’ gathering in Paris in June 2009, both chaired by the Minister for Trade, at which he secured agreements from key WTO members to intensify engagement on the Doha Round.

The department continued to actively pursue Australia’s trade interests through the WTO dispute settlement system. We led the whole-of-government task force to defend Australia’s position in the dispute brought by New Zealand against Australia’s quarantine measures regarding the importation of apples from New Zealand.

The department acted to advance the Minister for Trade’s agenda to improve Australia’s export competitiveness by contributing to whole-of-government work on behind-the-border reform. We ensured international competitiveness and trade implications were taken into account in designing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and in determining Australia’s approach to reform in sectors such as autos, energy and infrastructure. We ensured that Australian exporters were well informed, including through our trade statistical and market information services. We helped state and territory governments and the business community to maximise international trade opportunities, including by supporting overseas visits by state and territory ministers to promote trade, investment, tourism and education.

The department led Australia’s negotiations on regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with key trading partners. We supported the Minister for Trade in ensuring the successful conclusion of the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand FTA, the most liberal agreement ASEAN has ever concluded and Australia’s largest FTA, covering 20 per cent of Australia’s total trade. We began work on Australia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a plurilateral FTA aimed at enhancing economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

The department started negotiations on a bilateral FTA with the Republic of Korea, Australia’s third-largest export market. We resumed FTA negotiations with Malaysia, finalised an FTA feasibility study with Indonesia and made substantial progress on an FTA feasibility study with India. We continued extensive negotiations on FTAs with Japan, China and the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. We worked to strengthen existing agreements with Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

Enhancing key relationships

The department helped ensure the vitality of Australia’s partnership with the United States across the breadth of Australia’s political, economic and security interests. During the US elections and following the subsequent inauguration of President Obama, we ensured the Government was well positioned to pursue Australia’s interests with the United States, including through early visits by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade. We supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in attending the Australia–United States Ministerial consultations in April 2009.

The department supported intensified high-level dialogue with North Asia, reflecting the region’s critical strategic and economic importance to Australia. Building on Australia’s mature and broad-ranging relationship with Japan, we worked to deepen complementary economic ties and common strategic interests. The ‘2+2’ meeting of Australian and Japanese foreign and defence ministers in December 2008 reaffirmed the commitment voiced by the Prime Minister and his Japanese counterpart in their June 2008 joint statement to promote bilateral security cooperation.

To enhance Australia’s growing links with China, the department facilitated a program of high-level dialogue, including visits by the Prime Minister and the Governor-General. We supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the second Australia–China Strategic Dialogue held in China in March 2009 and coordinated the Minister’s visit to western China. By supporting the Minister for Trade in his intensive and high-level advocacy, including four visits to China, we helped enhance trade and investment across a range of sectors with Australia’s second-largest two-way trading partner. We conveyed Australia’s concerns about human rights issues in China at the annual bilateral Human Rights Dialogue in Canberra in February 2009.

The department helped strengthen Australia’s ties with the Republic of Korea by supporting a visit to Canberra by President Lee in March 2009, during which he and the Prime Minister issued a joint statement on enhanced global and security cooperation. We contributed to the Government’s productive dialogue with the ROK to promote global economic recovery through the G20 Leaders’ Summit, including support for the ROK to host the Summit in 2010.

To support the Government’s commitment to taking Australia’s relationship with India to the front rank of our international partnerships, the department facilitated a visit by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in September 2008. We managed a program of other ministerial and media visits to support Australia’s broad-based people-to-people ties with India, and to improve understanding in India of Australia’s cultural diversity and student safety measures. We enhanced the Government’s engagement with South Asia by securing observer status for Australia in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The department helped deepen engagement with Indonesia through bilateral cooperation and in regional and multilateral forums. We advanced Australia’s security interests by implementing the Australia–Indonesia Agreement on the Framework for Security Cooperation (the Lombok Treaty) through an ambitious plan of action to enhance cooperation on defence, law enforcement, counter-terrorism and disaster response. We hosted a landmark conference in February 2009 aimed at fostering people-to-people links, which the Prime Minister opened and our Portfolio Ministers attended.

The department fostered practical links with other ASEAN states. We boosted Australia’s engagement with Thailand by organising the inaugural Australia–Thailand Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, co-chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Thai counterpart in Perth in May 2009. We supported a visit to Malaysia by the Prime Minister in July 2008, during which Australia and Malaysia established a sister schools program and agreed a joint training program for teachers from Afghanistan. We coordinated activities to commemorate 35 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam, including visits by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Vietnam’s Prime Minister; and began work towards establishing a Comprehensive Partnership. We helped enhance strategic dialogue with the Philippines by supporting the participation of our Portfolio Ministers at the bilateral ministerial meeting in Manila in October 2008, which produced practical initiatives in mining and nursing. To advance the Government’s comprehensive economic and security ties with Singapore, we supported an active program of high-level visits, including by the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.

We continued to press for political reconciliation and democratic progress in Burma, including by implementation of a targeted sanctions regime.

We continued to assist East Timor through support for Australia’s leadership of the International Stabilisation Force and working with AusAID to alleviate poverty and strengthen economic growth.

In response to the Prime Minister’s Port Moresby Declaration in March 2008, the department acted to enhance Australia’s engagement with Pacific island countries. We worked with AusAID to conclude Pacific Development Partnerships, aimed at promoting development outcomes, governance and economic growth, with Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu. We supported the Minister for Trade in securing the backing of Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers for starting negotiations on PACER Plus, which will incorporate trade capacity-building and trade development within a framework of enhanced regional economic integration.

The department helped bolster Australia’s substantial partnership with Papua New Guinea by facilitating regular high-level exchanges, including the visit to Australia by the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare. We managed the 19th Australia–PNG Ministerial Forum in June 2009, which reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to consolidating this relationship. We continued to coordinate Australian agencies’ involvement in the Strongim Gavman Program, through which Australia and PNG work together to strengthen PNG’s financial and economic management, public sector reform, law and justice and border security.

The department worked to fulfil the Government’s commitment to supporting peace and prosperity in Solomon Islands through practical bilateral cooperation and Australia’s leadership of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. Working with Pacific Islands Forum members, the Commonwealth and other concerned members of the international community, we continued to promote and actively support international pressure on Fiji’s military regime to return the country to democracy and the rule of law, and to respect human rights.

The department enhanced Australia’s partnership with New Zealand by facilitating regular high-level bilateral contacts, including the annual Closer Economic Relations Ministerial Meeting in August 2008. We worked closely with New Zealand on coordinated approaches to development assistance and economic growth in the Pacific island region.

The department worked to implement the Government’s policy of enhanced cooperation with the European Union (EU) by concluding a new Partnership Framework, which the Minister for Foreign Affairs launched in Paris in October 2008. The agreement aims to boost Australia–EU engagement across a range of issues, including through closer practical cooperation on international trade, climate change, international security threats and development assistance. We helped secure a range of beneficial trade and investment outcomes from the Australia–European Commission (EC) Trade Policy Dialogue in June 2009, in which the Minister for Trade and his EC counterpart participated for the first time.

The department helped maintain Australia’s enduring links with the United Kingdom, including by supporting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in participating in the second Australia–UK Ministerial Dialogue. This, and visits by the Prime Minister and other ministers, served to underpin broad-based bilateral cooperation and engagement on critical issues—most significantly on global responses to the economic crisis. We contributed to developing the National Security Partnership, a framework for strengthened security cooperation which the Prime Minister and his UK counterpart, Mr Brown, announced in March 2009.

The department continued to support Australia’s broad and productive dialogue with Canada on issues of mutual concern, including climate change and clean energy, and on international efforts to build stability and democracy in Afghanistan.

We worked to implement the Government’s commitment to increased engagement with Africa through enhanced trade and investment links, expanded development assistance and stronger people-to-people ties. The department supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs’ participation in the Executive Council meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa in January 2009, in which he gave the first address by an Australian Foreign Minister. We supported the Governor-General’s visit to ten African countries in March–April 2009 and visits to Australia by African ministers. We acted to strengthen Australia’s commercial engagement throughout Africa, especially in the resources sector. We continued to lead Australia’s response in pressing for political transformation in Zimbabwe and to work with AusAID in providing humanitarian, and ‘humanitarian plus’, assistance to the Zimbabwean people.

The department worked to expand trade, investment and people-to-people links with Latin America and the Caribbean. We supported the visit to Peru by the Prime Minister and our Portfolio Ministers for the APEC Summit in November 2008, during which the Prime Minister announced that Australia would re-establish its diplomatic presence in Lima in 2010. A highlight of the year was the entry into force in March 2009 of the Australia–Chile FTA, Australia’s first with a Latin American country.

The department advanced the Government’s increased engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries by securing agreement for an Australia–GCC foreign minister-level dialogue and seeking to advance FTA negotiations.

Enhancing consular and passport services

Australians travelled overseas in record numbers, resulting in increased demand for the department’s consular assistance and for passport services. The department continued to provide a highly efficient and responsive consular service. Our smartraveller public information program advised Australian travellers of the importance of checking travel advisories before travelling and registering their travel plans. We provided accurate and up-to-date country-specific travel advice for 165 destinations to enable Australians to make informed decisions and manage the risks associated with travel.

By strengthening our consular case and crisis management capacities, we were able to respond quickly and effectively to more than 60 international crises in which the safety of Australians travelling and residing overseas was at risk. The department’s consular case load in remote and dangerous areas grew.

The department’s passport service to Australian travellers and expatriates remained responsive and efficient in the context of continued strong growth in passport applications. The average turnaround time for the issuance of travel documents was 5.1 days, well within the advertised client service commitment of ten working days.

A significant achievement for 2008–09 was the launch of the N series passport, Australia’s most secure, attractive and advanced passport yet. We improved the integrity of passport decision-making and issuance processes, including the use of facial recognition technology to detect and prevent fraud, to further enhance the security standards of our passport systems.

Promoting a positive image of Australia

Through its public diplomacy programs, the department worked to influence international opinion and to project positive images of Australia. We brought to Australia 22 opinion-shapers and decision-makers under our visits programs, enhancing understanding of Australia’s policy environment, society and culture. We promoted informed coverage of Australia in the international media by hosting visits by 84 journalists from 16 countries.

The department delivered Australia’s first major cultural program in Indonesia for many years to increase appreciation and understanding among Indonesians of Australia’s cultural diversity, in particular Indigenous visual arts and film. We promoted the Australian film industry by staging 15 Australian film festivals throughout our overseas network.

The department worked to showcase Australian business expertise and culture to the rapidly expanding Chinese market and to a wider global audience by managing preparations for Australia’s participation in the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. We ensured that Australia was the first nation to complete the foundations of its national pavilion.

Enhancing security of Australia’s overseas missions and communications

The security environment in which Australia’s overseas missions operate is often dangerous and unpredictable. To enhance overseas staff security, the department completed an extensive program of chancery security upgrades, including eight relocations.

The use of the department’s classified communications system by other Australian Government agencies increased, both in Australia and at diplomatic missions overseas. We worked closely with these agencies to develop new agreements on the supply of, and support for, communications infrastructure.

Corporate governance

The department continued to manage its resources efficiently and flexibly. We achieved efficiencies and higher productivity through careful prioritising and regular review of budget allocations. We improved our records management systems with a successful pilot program for a new Electronic Document and Records Management System to move from paper-based to electronic filing.

Outlook

In 2009–10, the department will work to develop the Government’s policy response to global economic developments and engagement with global governance machinery, particularly the G20. We will continue to support the Prime Minister, our Portfolio Ministers and other ministers in advancing Australia’s position in forthcoming G20 Leaders’ Summits.

The department will continue to promote and advance the Asia Pacific community initiative by organising a major international conference of academics and senior officials from regional governments in December 2009.

We will continue to promote Australia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2013–2014. The department will engage extensively with regional and multilateral systems, as well as with Australia’s key bilateral partners, in negotiating effective solutions to global challenges, such as climate change, terrorism, WMD proliferation and people smuggling. We will continue preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, working closely with the Department of Climate Change.

The department will work to achieve the Government’s non-proliferation and disarmament aims, including by supporting the ICNND’s efforts to shape a global consensus in the lead-up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference. We will remain closely engaged with partners in North Asia and the United States, and through the UN Security Council, to encourage the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons program. We will continue to coordinate CT activities in South-East Asia and Australia’s contribution to stability in Afghanistan. We will strengthen dialogue with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on security issues of common interest.

The department will continue to work actively with regional partners to ensure an effective coordinated response to people smuggling.

Delivering an ambitious outcome to the Doha Round and pursuing trade liberalisation through multilateral, regional and bilateral initiatives will remain Australia’s highest trade priorities in 2009–10. We will continue to support the efforts of the Minister for Trade to maintain international momentum to conclude the Round.

The department will work to enhance Australia’s alliance with the United States and the Government’s relationship with the Obama Administration through practical and strategic cooperation. We will continue to develop our important partnerships with Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, and with Indonesia and other countries in South-East Asia. We will support a deepening of Australia’s engagement with countries and regions that directly and increasingly affect Australia’s economic, security, development and diplomatic interests, including India, Pakistan, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The department will use Australia’s leadership role as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2009–10 to redouble cooperation with Pacific island nations on responses to climate change and the global economic crisis, advance regional economic integration and make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

We will keep developing our capacity to meet the growing consular case load, with a focus on maintaining a responsive and high-quality consular service to Australians as they travel overseas in ever-increasing numbers. We will keep improving Australia’s passports system, incorporating enhanced security regimes and fraud prevention and detection technologies.

In an environment of continued high security risk, the department will strengthen security arrangements for Australia’s overseas network, including current security-related construction projects for new chanceries in Jakarta and Bangkok.

We will continue to manage resources adroitly and flexibly in our responses to the Government’s policy initiatives and budget priorities, and to monitor closely and review as necessary departmental expenditure. The outcomes for the department in the 2009–10 Budget will help us to pursue the Government’s priorities more effectively and build, over time, diplomatic resources that are more in-depth and diversified. This will include additional resources for our work on people smuggling and in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Gillian Bird
Acting Secretary

 

 

 

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